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Traveling to Christchurch or just wondering what to look out for in the Garden City of New Zealand? Read on for some amazing and enjoyable things to do in Christchurch.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s largest city on the South Island. Known for it’s historical vibrancy, convenient scenic getaways, street arts and beautiful gardens, Christchurch is a must visit in New Zealand. It is also a perfect base for some amazing day trips to many gorgeous places in the South Island. Christchurch though is not much touristy, it still offers many enjoyable and adventurous activities you could be looking forward to on your trip. Being hit by a devastating earthquake in 2011, Christchurch has come a long way in terms of leisure activities and recreations. Here are some unmissable and enjoyable things to do in Christchurch.
Things To Do In Christchurch
1. Take The Historical Tram Tour
While you are visiting a city as a tourist, you would be looking for most convenient, fun and easiest way to explore all the major landmarks. The historical tram tour on a vintage styled tram is an excellent way to do so. It takes you through 17 stops which includes all the unmissable and wonderful sights in Christchurch. While onboard, you would be entertained by fascinating historic tales and facts about the city by a local guide on the tram. This is one of the very best things to do in Christchurch and hence may get booked quickly.
2. Visit The Canterbury Museum
Canterbury museum exhibits an extensive collection of significant objects that demonstrate the history of the Canterbury region from different perspectives. Preserved skeletons of the extinct species, antarctic exploration objects, a recreated 19th century street, extraordinary fossils, fascinating tales, the Victorian museum and the a gallery showcasing the work of Sir Julius Von Haast are some of the highlights of this spectacular museum. The Canterbury museum also showcases temporary displays and exhibitions which are also fun to explore.
If you are an history enthusiast, the Canterbury Museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in Christchurch for you.
- Opening Hours : 9 AM to 5:30 PM everyday
- Entrance Fee : Free
3. Marvel On Christchurch’s Skyline From A Gondola Ride
To admire some breathtaking birds eye views of the Southern Alps, the Christchurch city, Lake Ellesmere and Banks Peninsula, you should take the Gondola ride. The views are stunning and dramatic as they unfold while you are gliding up on the Gondola. Once you reach the summit, you can have some snacks at the Red Rock Cafe and shop some souvenirs from The Shop at the Top. You can hike back down through the mountain tracks or ride the Gondola to descend back.
The Gondola ride is located at about 15 minutes distance from the Cathedral square through the shuttle service which departs every 30 minutes.
- Opening Hours : 10 AM to 4 PM everyday
- Ride Fees : You can check out the prices here.
4. Go Punting Along River Avon
Punting along the tranquil Avon river is one of the must have experiences in Christchurch. This activity initiates from the banks of the river at Antigua Boat Sheds. You would be getting on to a handcrafted wooden flat bottomed boat with a pole at one end. The boatman is dressed in a traditional Edwardian costume, which adds a great feel to the experience. Punting along the river Avon is also a great way to see the beautiful flora that surrounds that is an aesthetic part of Christchurch.
Easy Sightseeing Tip – If you are for a good combo deal, click here to book a full day of Christchurch city tour by the historical tram, gondola ride and punting. It’s an all inclusive tour where you can enjoy the activities at your own pace and is great when it comes to savings.
5. Explore The Hagley Park
Christchurch is known for it’s beautiful green spaces and is also known as the “Garden City” of New Zealand. Exploring the gorgeous gardens that boosts wonderful flora is one of the most unmissable things to do in Christchurch. Home to the Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park is a great spot for nature lovers. There are many conservatories to wander through that include Magnolia Garden, Central Rose Garden, Herbaceous Border, Blind Garden and more. You can easily spend an hour or two admiring the fascinating beauty of the Gardens.
Opening Hours : 7 AM to PM everyday
6. Visit The International Antarctic Center
The International Antarctic Center is an award winning tourist attraction in New Zealand. This center takes you on a journey through several incredible Antarctic themed displays and experiences. These include an fun filled Hagglund all-terrain vehicle ride, snow park, a visit to the Little Blue Penguin, a simulated cruise to Antarctica and a husky zone where you can meet and cuddle some cute rescued husky dogs. You can also enjoy an HD movie “Beyond The Frozen Sunset” which features some breathtaking Antarctic visuals. If traveling to Antarctic excites you, venturing to the International Antarctic Center is one of the most fun things to do in Christchurch for you.
7. See The Cardboard Cathedral
Christchurch had seen a disastrous earthquake in 2011 which ruined the city’s symbolic Cathedral. In 2013, the Cardboard Cathedral was built as a temporary replacement of the Cathedral. It’s innovative architecture was built out of cardboard tubes, poly-carbon roof and colorful stained glasses. The Cardboard Cathedral also serves as a memorial for the lives lost during the earthquake. It is a symbol of positivism, hope and strength for Christchurch city. After your visit, you can also spot some great street art throughout the Cathedral Square where the Cardboard Cathedral is located.
- Opening Hours : Tuesday to Sunday – 9 AM to 5:30 PM. The Cardboard Cathedral remains closed on Mondays.
- Entrance Fee : Free
8. Venture To The Impressive Castle Hill
Located between the Christchurch and Arthur’s Pass is one of the most astonishing natural wonders of New Zealand, the Castle Hill. This place is filled with numerous surreal rock formations which were featured in one of the series of Narnia movies. The Castle hill is an important part of the Maori culture and history. It is also recognized as a world class climbing, photography and film making spot which definitely makes it a must visit on any New Zealand itinerary. A drive from Christchurch to Castle Hill would take about an hour. You will have to hire a rental car or book a tour to reach there.
For a convenient option, click here to book a guided Castle hill tour hotel transfers, lunch and refreshments.
9. Explore The Christchurch Adventure Park
Another must do in Christchurch is the Adventure Park. It is an amazing place to enjoy some thrilling outdoor activities such as biking, ziplining, hiking through some scenic trails or taking a chairlift ride over the fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Alps and the Canterbury plains. The chairlift ride is the longest one in New Zealand and truly one of the most unforgettable things to do in Christchurch. The Christchurch Adventure Park is for those who are looking for spending some time amongst the scenic wonders while enjoying adventurous activities the park offers.
Are you ready for an adrenaline rush? Click here to book a a zipline experience at the Christchurch Adventure Park. For the scenic chairlift ride, you can click here to book one.
10. Enjoy Fine Dining Experience On A Vintage Tram
Going for a fine dining experience on a vintage tram while enjoying the beautiful sights is one of the most well worthy things to do in Christchurch. With comfortably cozy settings, this tramway restaurant offers you to dine on a 4 course menu which includes a selection of innovative meals. You also get to sip on a complimentary drink on arrival. The tram takes you around all the main attractions, the tranquil Avon River and the Botanical Gardens during a 2.5 hour ride. Since this activity is extremely popular, make sure you make your reservations well in advance.
Where To Stay In Christchurch
Wondering where to book your stay in Christchurch? Here are some of the best accommodation options that you may check out as per your budget. These accommodations are centrally located, highly rated and have excellent facilities.
Budget (Below $50) : Located in the heart of Christchurch, Urbanz is perfect for a hostel stay in the city’s downtown area. The rooms are comfortable and well equipped with basic necessities. Many attractions and the Christchurch bus station is at a short walking distance from Urbanz. It’s a steal deal in Christchurch for those who are traveling on budget. Click here to book this hostel or to check out its availability.
Mid Range ($50-$100) : The Garden Hotel is an excellent hotel that features beautiful rooms with private balcony that faces some picturesque garden views. This gives you a great feel of staying in the “Garden City”. The rooms are spacious, clean, comfortable and have all the modern amenities. The hotel also features a highly recommended restaurant that serves delicious international dishes for meals. Click here to book this hotel or to check out its availability.
Luxury ($100+) : If you are looking for an extremely memorable stay in Christchurch, The George hotel has to be your pick. This property overlooks the gorgeous Hagley Park and River Avon. The rooms are boutique styled, chic, comfortable, spacious and have all the luxury amenities for it’s guests. The George Hotel also features an award winning restaurants that serves contemporary cuisine and also offers al fresco dining experience on it’s terrace. Click here to book this hotel or to check out its availability for your stay.
Those were the best things to do in Christchurch! We are sure you are going to have a great time in this wonderful “Garden City” and would feel very close to the nature.